The Chimney Safety Institute of America is excited to announce that today we have been named an official NOAA Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador.

The Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador initiative is an effort to formally recognize National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration partners who are improving the nation’s readiness against extreme weather, water, and climate events. As a Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador, our organization is committing to work with NOAA and other ambassadors to strengthen national resilience against extreme weather.

Our appointment as an ambassador comes almost a year to the date when our 10,000-square-foot chimney and venting technology center in Plainfield, Indiana came close to a calamity. An F1 tornado formed less than a football field away. At the time we had 20 students in for the National Chimney Sweep Training School! [Read our Storify on the media coverage of our experience with the tornado.]

That was a heck of an up-close experience for the staff and our visitors. But inspecting and correcting damaged chimneys and venting is our speciality. Chimney sweeps certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America are well-versed in dispensing advice on post-disaster response — we teach it! It’s in our Successful Chimney Sweeping  manual.

Here’s one of the pages in the CSIA-produced Successful Chimney Sweeping manual.

“The chimney, while it appears to be a relatively static structure, has an extremely important function,” said Ashley Eldridge, director of education for CSIA. “It is designed to vent the smoke and heat from any combustion generating home heating appliance such as a solid fuel fire, or the gases and emissions from an oil or gas furnace or boiler from the source to the outside of your home.”

If the home has been subjected to the extreme, damaging winds of a hurricane or tornado or the impact of an earthquake, there is a strong possibility that the integrity of the chimney or chimneys has been affected.

The result can be the escape of heat or flames into areas containing combustible materials or the venting of the hazardous, life-threatening gases or fumes into the living spaces of your home.

Weather Ready Nation_Ambassador_logo

At the earliest possible opportunity following a natural disaster, the chimney and venting system should be thoroughly inspected by a knowledgeable, competent chimney service professional.

The Chimney Safety Institute of America strongly advocates that homeowners contact and use a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep.

Those with this credential have made a special effort to study and be tested on their knowledge of the codes, clearances, standards and practices involved in installing and servicing chimneys, fireplaces, vents, and solid fuel appliances — woodstoves and fireplace inserts.

Homeowners can perform limited assessments of the condition of their chimney, but need to understand when to call in a professional if they aren’t comfortable. Removing pipes or connectors can result in the release or scattering of soot and creosote in your living spaces. Further, the proper reinstallation of stoves, fireplace inserts, stove pipes and connectors is critical to the safety and integrity of your wood-burning system.

CSIA applauds the proactive role that NOAA is taking to protect public safety. That’s what’s CSIA’s vision, mission, and core values are also about.